The new Showtime series EPISODES is amazing. I'm not talking about the premise, the writing, or the acting. No, what astonishes me is the digital matte work. The show takes place entirely in Los Angeles… with plenty of blue skies, palm trees, McMansions, and lots of driving through Beverly Hills and Malibu in convertibles. And yet, the show is shot entirely in London.
They pull it off thanks to the green screen magicians at Stargate Studios. There are a few shots where the digital compositing is obvious (in particular, a night-time, outdoor party in the Hollywood hills), but for the most part, the trick photography is entirely invisible and utterly convincing. I constantly found myself wondering "how the hell did they do that?"
But the really, really amazing thing is that it's cheaper to do all those elaborate effects shots than to just shoot the show here.